Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thoughts on the Sendai Earthquake in Japan

First of all, my heart goes out to all impacted. As I saw someone said on twitter, I hope for every tragedy there are ten narrow escapes and twenty miracles.

Out of all the natural disasters, I find earthquakes the most horrific. Hurricanes do a huge amount of damage over a wide area, but you have a good warning to hunker down. It may not save your house, but it can save your life. Tornados horrify with their randomness and surprise. Like a scalpel across the landscape they can obliterate your house but leave the guys place two doors down untouched (relatively).

Earthquakes take the worst of those two, scale and surprise, and possibly throw in a tsunami on top of it. At least with tornados, you can look to the sky and know if there is a chance for one. An earthquake the best info you have is, we haven't had the 'Big One' in awhile (hundreds of years) and we think we are due...

The other reason that I find them the most horrific is that I live in an area that has earthquakes. I can recall feeling the ground move four times in my life. Luckily none anywhere close to the power of the Sendai quake. Having a building that you take for granted the fact that it built on solid ground churn back and forth is a surreal experience. I think the noise is what sticks with me the most is the noise. Like a freight train on bad tracks with things not tied down.

Something I noticed in some of the videos that I watched of the Sendai quake was how there wasn't much panic in the people. People not running for their lives, people not screaming. During the Nisqually quake, a paltry 6.8 compared to the Sendai 8.8, I was in a big box hardware store. I was proud of myself for being calm and in control. I remember looking up and stepping away from a shelf that I was by and saying to the stranger next to me, "Hey, I think this is an earthquake". Then I just watched stuff move in awe. Afterwards I had the same feeling that I would get doing a drop on the snowboard or mountain bike.

Hopefully when the 'Big One' hits Seattle (we're due...) I will be able to repeat that performance.


ubertavallecillo 3/03/2022 8:22 PM  

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